- Drones are seeing an explosion in both popularity and sales.
- While drones can get expensive very quickly, there are plenty of options that are under $100.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, Grand View Research reports that the global market for commercial drones was valued at $13.44 billion as of 2020 and expected to grow at a rate of 57.5 percent by 2028.1
There’s good reason for this explosion in both popularity and sales. Drones are fun to fly and can take aerial photos and videos like no other camera. Before drones, the only way to get such aerial shots was with a crane.
If you’re new to drones and don’t know what to look for, you can end up spending a lot of money that you can’t afford. Fortunately, there are plenty of drones for affordable prices. The best way to find such drones is with an online search. However, if you need some direction, here are five affordable drones that won’t make a huge dent in your wallet. Each retail for under $100 and can be purchased online or at your local electronics store.
1. DJI Ryze Tech Tello
The DJI Ryze Tech Tello is a great drone for beginners. While at the higher end in terms of price for this list, the Tello is still very economical at $99. Moreover, it comes with a lot of features that make it easy to fly. For instance, it has an auto-takeoff and landing feature, as well as a safe landing function if you lose connection to the drone. Plus, the Tello has a 5MP camera and can perform aerial tricks.3
The default color for the Tello is white. However, it is also available in blue or yellow, which is great if you’re looking for a gender-neutral gift.
- Perfect for beginners.
- Easy to use.
- Included propeller guards and safe landing feature helps reduce damage if accidents occur.
- Low battery life, especially given how long it takes to charge.
- Gets easily caught in the wind.4
2. Force1 UFO 4000 LED Mini Drone
The Force1 UFO 4000 LED Mini Drone is a great starter drone. With up to 18 minutes of flight on one charge, the drone edges out most of its low-price competition. Furthermore, it includes some high-end features that are usually exclusive to more expensive drones, such as LED lights and a headless mode.5
To ensure you consider the UFO 4000, Force1 will provide a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with the drone. Better yet, you can get 10 percent of your order when subscribing to Force1’s Messenger list.
- Highly durable.
- The LEDs make it easy to fly when it gets dark outside.
- Longer battery life when compared to the competition.
- Difficulty handling in the wind.
- Poor range.6
3. UDI U818A Drone
No matter your skill level, the UDI U818A Drone is well worth the investment. Despite being having the lowest price on this list, the U818A is one of the toughest drones on the market. As such, it’s built to withstand any abuse you can throw at it. In addition to its sturdy design, the U818A has plenty of exciting features, including a headless mode, 720p HD camera with first-person view, and three speed settings.
- Sturdy design.
- Great altitude control.
- Includes an alarm to alert users when the battery is low.
- Only uses proprietary batteries.
- Flight range is half of what UDI specifies.8
4. Tomzon A31
From the LED lights to propeller guards, the Tomzon A31, or “Flying Pig”, comes with a good selection of features that make it a great choice for beginners. Better yet, this drone is an easy way to entertain small children. Just play around with the seven color settings and four modes for the LED lights, which look even better in the dark.10 If that doesn’t work, the A31 can perform some simple tricks like 3D flips.
- Easy to setup.
- The LEDs are an easy way to entertain kids.
- Hard to find spare parts.
- Doesn’t perform well in the wind.11
5. Propel Star Wars TIE X1 Advanced Quadcopter
With Star Wars being an international brand, it’s not hard to see a licensed drone costing well in excess of $100. However, that isn’t the case. Coming in at just under $100, the Propel Star Wars TIE X1 Advanced Quadcopter is a great drone for beginners that also happen to be fans of a long time ago in galaxy far, far away.
Unlike other drones, this licensed Star Wars product is meant to best emulate what it’s like being an Imperial fighter pilot. The drone does this with help from the Propel Star Wars companion app.13 The app allows users to engage in training programs, simulate battles with other pilots, and participate in special missions based on the movies and shows.
- Highly detailed.
- An incredibly immersive experience when used in tandem with the companion app.
- Can be hard to control at first.
- Less than desirable battery life.14